Sports ministry initiative falls flat, public money goes waste
Improper assessment of the need to create additional facilities at Sports Authority of India (SAI) stadiums, under the community connect scheme, in the national Capital has led to the wastage of public money.
Last year, a basketball and volleyball court, skating rink and cycling track were constructed at the Karni Singh Shooting Range at a cost of Rs 18 lakh.
A year later, the facilities lie unused and the condition of the volleyball court has deteriorated.
SAI had also transferred the basketball and volleyball coaches from various centres to Karni Singh Range, but since the scheme has found no takers, the coaches are without work.
Their salaries, running into lakhs, and the transfer of the basketball coach from Pune to Delhi has further burdened SAI financially.
The reason for the facilities at Karni Singh lying unused is that there is hardly anyone willing travel the distance for these disciplines.
A FREE OPTION
A jogging and cycling track was constructed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for Rs 57 lakh, but people prefer the nearby Lodhi Gardens rather than pay for the facilities at the stadium. There is also a plan to construct a golf driving range at a cost of Rs 6 crore here.
On instructions from the sports ministry, SAI started the community connect scheme last year with a budget of Rs 25 crore. Under it, additional facilities were to be created at the JLN Stadium, IG Complex, Karni Singh Shooting Range, Talkatora Swimming Complex and Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
The aim was to encourage people to visit these stadiums and use the facilities on payment.
A jogging and cycling track was built at the IG Stadium for Rs 40 lakh but is yet to be thrown open due to poor public response.
“SAI went on to create the infrastructure (some are yet to be completed) without proper groundwork and assessing which facility will be viable in which stadium. This resulted in many of the facilities lying unutilised,” a senior SAI official told HT.